Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons looks on after a 2018 playoff game against the Miami Heat.
The NBA’s Worst Soap Opera just took another unexpected turn. Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has told the team that he is “mentally unwilling to meet his expectations,” said ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Whatever that means.
Simmons, who was kicked out of practice, returned to the Sixers facility on Friday October 22nd to meet with coaches and teammates. All parties vented and decided to give Simmons time to work on his problems. He was banned from the home game for personal reasons.
Sixers coaches cleared the angry point guard for physical activity after initially quoting “back tightness” because he had to sit down. He half-heartedly took part in two team training sessions before being sent home by head coach Doc Rivers. There is no return schedule. And Sixers President Daryl Morey said he would wait “four years” (no kidding) for a solution.
Simmons needs to be evaluated now and next steps will be based on the decision of medical professionals, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/OTZ9PQU9bN
“People should buckle up, it will take a long time because our only job, my only job, is to help us get the best chances of winning the title” Morey said of NBC Sports. “You’ll think I’m kidding, I’m not, this could take four years.”
Simmons’ teammates support the troubled star (at least publicly) during this ordeal. Rivers has stated that he will welcome the three-time All-Star with open arms whenever he is ready to return.
Tobias Harris offered in a Twitter message, “we will hug our brother with love” . And Tyrese Maxey has claimed that the Sixers are better at Simmons and they want him to be part of the team.
Tyrese Maxey on Ben Simmons: “Friendships are bigger than basketball. … Ben was a friend before I was drafted. ”
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Joel Embiid Simmons asked directly,” Why do you want to be traded? ” in a personal team meeting. There was no response in return, but the team agreed to take Simmons time off and work out his mental state. Pro Charania:
I was told that [Embiid’s question] was answered without an answer and that there were other team leaders like Tobias Harris who then publicly and privately supported Ben Simmons, letting him know that he was taking his time and being mentally right should do. I’ve been told that Simmons will seek professional help to make sure he gets back on track and back on the ground after telling his teammates that he wants to play, but he needs to be mentally right before he can.
Sources say Joel Embiid asked 76ers co-star Ben Simmons the question, Why do you want a trade? Simmons replied that he doesn’t feel himself mentally and that it takes time to get right. Details: pic.twitter.com/oevLl2hXB2
Georges Niang was the only player made available to the media after the shooting on Friday October 21st and he wanted to keep their conversations with Simmons a secret. He called the locker room a “sacred place,” although he was optimistic that things could be corrected.
“I think we left the meeting understanding what he had to say and we came out and prepared us for Brooklyn, ”Niang told reporters. “If you know me, I’m always a positive person, so I make the best of every situation.”
Georges Niang wanted to keep the team meeting with Ben Simmons private, but offered that it was positive. He remains optimistic. #Sixers #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/I7fgqDvsh9
Back to basketball, right? The Sixers host the Brooklyn Nets at their season opener at the Wells Fargo Center. Simmons (personal reasons) won’t be there. And neither is the backup point guard Shake Milton, who is struggling with an ankle sprain.
Embiid (knee pain) was considered questionable in the injury report, but the all-star Big Man is expected to play. Grant Riller (knee) stays out while recovering from meniscus surgery. Kyrie Irving is out for the nets.